DOHA (Reuters) - Justin Gatlin blasted out a warning that he is in shape to challenge Usain Bolt's 100 meters hegemony when he stormed to a lifetime best 9.74 seconds to win the event in the opening Diamond League meeting of the season on Friday.
Gatlin, twice banned for doping, dominated the sprint scene last season as Bolt rarely raced because of injury and showed that he remains in blistering shape with a superb run in perfect conditions.
The 33-year-old American was first out of the blocks and was away and clear by halfway, punching the air after clocking the world leading time and leaving second-place American Mike Rodgers trailing by more than two meters in 9.96.
Bolt remains favorite to retain his world title in Beijing later this year but knows he will have to be right at the top of his game and fully fit to hold off the challenge of the 2004 Olympic champion.
(Writing by Mitch Phillips in London, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)